“Every day is about innovation.” Shahid Khan at Chicago Ideas Week 10-18-14
I’ve been doing a 21st Century Church road show for about ten years now – asking church leaders such questions as:
- Why does your church exist?
- If your church vanished who would notice/care?
- What does your congregation worship more than God?
That sort of thing. The power point slides get tweaked with every presentation, but it’s basically the same message, and invariably, people come away feeling either overwhelmed (“We can never change like that“) or self-satisfied (“That’s exactly what I’ve been talking about but nobody else in my church gets it“) or energized (“Yes! This is what we’ve been looking for.“)
Every congregation and denominational and religious institution these days seems to be in the throes of Reorganizing or Transforming. So here’s my own small idea for how Presbyteries/Associations/Dioceses should reorganize and transform themselves:
- Offer a broad plan in which each congregation is assessed in terms of their spiritual, financial, and transformational health. There are lots of organizations that can do this for us and denominations should pay for it – except for a minimal fee from each congregation to ensure buy in. If a church selects not to participate, we close them.
- Provide skilled/healthy/spiritually energetic coaches who will walk with each congregation as they move towards innovations according to the needs noted in their assessment. (Note: The next steps might include closing the church which is often a healthy and wise choice. Remember that all churches planted by the apostle Paul have closed.)
- Re-assess spiritual health and transformational successes after three years, again, with Middle Judicatories assisting congregations as they call new, more innovative pastors and train church members in new, more innovative leadership for a 21st Century Church.
For much too long, we have been leading our congregations using methods learned in seminaries for a different culture. The results have been crushing.
The price of failing to innovate for the 21st Century is exorbitant, but we can do better. God has called to much higher things. Who’s with me?
Image is two versions of Las Meninas – first by Velasquez in 1656 and then an innovative version by Picasso in 1957.